Written by: Alex Tsai November 15, 2021
When Stanford's fountain turns into a cardinal, the Hoover Tower is bathed in crimson lights, and a teddy bear is brutally stabbed at the tip of its paw, it can only mean one thing: the big game is nearby .
Big Game is not just the annual meeting of the two oldest competitors of college football, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley-it is also a week-long campus celebration full of Stanford spirit, friendship and ceremony. Big Game Week is full of tradition, and each year commemorates a game that dates back to 1892. With the approach of the 124th Big Game, the celebration is about to begin, and the campus is full of enthusiasm and campus spirit. After a year of virtual gatherings, the students are more excited than ever to celebrate the return in person.
The Stanford Band is an important steward of the tradition of major tournament weeks. Every year, members of the band lead the annual "Bearial of the Cal Bear" (abbreviated as Bearial)-a group of band members who walk through the campus with wooden coffins. There is a teddy bear in the coffin, representing Oski, Cal's mascot. The journey across the campus ends at the White Memorial Fountain, which is better known as "The Claw", where students gather to listen to a brief eulogy to Oski and then execute them publicly. A member of The Band climbed up The Claw and strung a portrait of a teddy bear on its apex. The bear market happened on Monday.
The Stanford Axe Committee (Axe Comm) is also the traditional guardian of the Big Game Week and the guardian of the Stanford Axe. This is the annual Big Game trophy. A week before the game, Axe Comm used Big Game decorations to enhance the campus atmosphere, such as hanging a huge "Beat Cal" banner in the green library, dyeing the fountain a terrible crimson red to symbolize Oski's blood, and lighting it with ominous red lights Light up the Hoover Tower. Axe Comm also led White Plaza camping before the game. The duration is the same as the number of hours of the large-scale sports meeting held so far. During the countdown, they blow the train whistle every hour-this year, they will camp for 124 hours. Axe Comm is also held in the Memorial Hall The annual large-scale game rally, which includes retelling the history of Axe, freshman dormitory banner game, and recognition of senior football players before the last large game.
Every year during the major competition week, the Ram's Head Theatre Association will play Gaieties, a musical produced by students performed in the Memorial Hall. The first iteration of the show in 1911 was called "Football Follies". This was a performance that gathered students for a football game between Stanford University and the University of California. By the 1970s, it had evolved into the theme of beating the University of California. Gaieties is Stanford’s oldest theatrical tradition. Although it is different every year, each of Gaieties’ works promotes Stanford and laughs at Cal. Without a cameo by university administrators, any Gaities would be incomplete (even the principal Marc Tessier-Lavigne unexpectedly appeared). Every year, Gaieties injects vitality and school spirit into the students. This year, Gaieties will perform at the Memorial Hall on November 17, 18, and 19 at 7pm. Tickets can be purchased here.
Stanford University and the University of California participate in various other sports at the school team and club level throughout the fall. Each game is named after Big Game: "Big Splash" (water polo), "Big Spike" (volleyball), "Big Sweep" "" (Quidditch), "Big Freeze" (Ice Hockey), "Big Sail" (Sailing) and Ink Bowl (a football game between Stanford University and California Student News members).
This article has been updated to reflect that there will be no blood-driven competitors this year. "Daily Telegraph" regrets this mistake.
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